To be self-employed in Bulgaria, you must obtain:
- a freelance/self-employed work permit;
- a visa “type D”; and
- a residence permit.
Where and how to apply
You must first obtain a self-employment permit.
It is granted by the central administration of the Employment Agency on the basis of a detailed plan of the activity for the term of the permit assessing the economic and social impact of the activity.
Visa “type D”
Once a self-employment permit has been granted, you should apply for a visa “type D” at the Bulgarian embassy or consulate in your home countrySearch for available translations of the preceding link. The visa gives you the right to enter Bulgaria.
Residence permitOnce you have arrived in Bulgaria with your valid visa (in case you need a visa to enter the country), you must also obtain a residence permit from the Migration DirectorateSearch for available translations of the preceding link after you enter Bulgaria
To obtain a work permit, you must show:
Duration of validity of permits
The Self-employment Permit is valid for a maximum of one year, renewable for a maximum of up to three years. After three years, you must return to your home country for one month after which you can apply for a new self-employment permit via the same procedure.The duration of the residence permit is aligned with the Self-employment permit. You must apply to renew it with the Migration DirectorateSearch for available translations of the preceding link no later than 14 days before it expires. Your residence permit will become invalid following expiry of your Self-employment permit.
|Further Requirements||Upon arrival, you have five days to notify your address of residence to the competent authorities.|
|Appeals||Decisions related to residence permits can be challenged before local administrative courts|
|Change of activities||You cannot change your main responsibilities/business during the first year of the work permit.|
However, changes related to details of your business/responsibilities are possible subject to approval of the Employment Agency. You must report such changes within seven days to the competent authorities.
Change of status
If you want to change status, you must submit a new application from outside Bulgaria.
You will be eligible for permanent residence status after five years of legal residence. You cannot leave Bulgaria for more than six consecutive months or a total of 10 months during this five-year period. Applications for permanent residence must be submitted to the Migration DirectorateSearch for available translations of the preceding link of the Ministry of Interior, or to the Bulgarian embassy or consulate in your home countrySearch for available translations of the preceding link.The duration of your permanent residence status will depend on the validity of the national passport with which you have entered Bulgaria. As a permanent resident, you will not need a work permit and will have equal access to health insurance and social security.